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Charges filed in alleged stolen vehicle pursuit that led to power outage

Willie Dixon, Blue Earth County Jail

A driver has been charged in a pursuit and crash that left hundreds of residents without power Monday night.

Willie Jack Dixon, 30, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, was charged in Blue Earth County Court with felony counts of theft and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

Police were initially called to a business at 340 Stadium Rd for a report of a stolen vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.  The victim told police she had left the vehicle running when she went inside, and it was gone when she came out.  Court documents say a neighboring business with surveillance provided a screen capture of the man who stole the SUV.

The complaint says the victim was able to locate the SUV  by tracking her air pods.  Police say they attempted a traffic stop on the stolen vehicle at Balcerzak Dr and Monks Ave, but the driver, later identified as Dixon, began to flee.  Dixon ran red lights on 2nd St and on Riverfront Dr, according to police.  The vehicle reached speeds up to 80 mph in Mankato, traveling on Poplar St and Riverfront Dr, according to the complaint.

Dixon allegedly then drove the car onto Highway 169, where he reached speeds of up to 90 mph.  Police say the vehicle exited on Lookout Dr, then turned onto Center St in North Mankato, where Dixon crashed into a power pole at the dead end.

The complaint says the pole “cracked” and officers could see sparks.  Dixon allegedly fled the scene on foot.  He was later located at a gas station, where concerned citizens said he was loitering and kept looking out the window, according to the complaint.

Dixon was arrested at the gas station.  He allegedly admitted that the surveillance photo looked “a lot like” him.

Dixon is also charged with misdemeanor fleeing police and failure to notify an owner of a traffic collision.

Xcel Energy says more than 800 properties lost power after the crash.

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